Unfortunately, there’s no magic formula.
From national non-profits to small local ones, from school board races to large political machines, the Percolator team has worked on digital teams at every level. We don’t have a magic email open and action formula but we do have four guidelines that will help you avoid failed emails at the 11th hour of a crucial campaign.
1. Test (and know when you can’t)
If you have the time and the list size, test the subject line and first sentence of your email. The subject line and first sentence of your email are the keys to anyone on a mobile device (the majority of your list) opening your email. But first, make sure you have the sample size needed to test. I love this handy calculator for testing. Can’t test? Fake it. Write at least 20 potential subject lines and first sentences and ask your friends, colleagues or random folks which email they’d open.
2. Theory of Change (your email needs one)
If you want high action rates every person who reads your email needs to understand why it is so important that they personally take action. This is your theory of change. Your email list is full of busy people who are probably just skimming your email (sorry) so make sure your ask and theory of change are in the first two paragraphs.
3. Short is sweet
A short, powerful email will almost always perform better than a long-winded one.
4. Look at your email
Don’t just send your email to your Gmail account and look at it on your laptop. Look at your email on an iPhone, an Android, in Outlook on a PC, and on an iPad. Review it in both Gmail and Yahoo. Make sure you email is legible and engaging. Click the links and take action on every platform. This step will save you from any panicked board member calls after you hit send, and ensure the you better open and action rates.